Monday, March 28, 2011

A trip to old Melbourne town

A trip to the old home town when it's not actually your home town is very strange indeed. A place that is so familiar that it feels a part of you. Like a past lover, it has the allure of what used to be but forces a close examination of what did I really see in her. When we lived in England, I had the strange feeling sometimes of having two homes and at other times of having no home at all. Somewhat of a displaced person. I expected it to be different this time. After all we are still living in Australia. I still see the same news of floods up north, Australian journalists' perspectives of nuclear crisis in Japan, same rubbish on TV and all the footy news, albeit from an Eagles or Dockers point of view. Yet it seems that the distance or relocated geography has no bearing and the only relevant factor is absence.

When I arrived back in Melbourne it was drab, cold and rainy. This is pretty much the perception that the rest of Australia has of Melbourne all the time and despite protests of "it's only just started, it wasn't this bad last week", I fell in with the non-Melburnians in thinking that this weather sucked. If I was looking to be in love with Melbourne, in return it was certainly playing hard to get. Friends and family would ask me of where we'd been travelling and whether I could possibly live there. Hmmmm.... perpetual blue skies, hot and sunny, fringed with beautiful white sand beaches where the crystal clear water laps on to the shore. Not as crowded so not as much of a traffic nightmare getting around town. Sitting outside on a late March evening being warm in only a t-shirt and shorts. I pondered the question for a while before deciding that firstly, I could live in such a place and secondly, I do actually live there right now. The perception of me just being off on an extended holiday seems hard to shake, so I guess now I'll just go with it. My life is just one long holiday with nothing to do but decide where to have the next beer and how many crays I'll eat for dinner. My bank account continues to regenerate while I'm just lazing back in a banana lounge, feet up and receiving a shoulder massage while nonchalantly chowing down on a few grapes being lovingly fed to me by one of my beautiful hand maidens. Tori has picked out the most beautiful girls to fulfill this duty as she knows that this will please me. Life is just perfect. It's quite amazing really that I could bring myself from this idyllic existence to be in the grey gloom of a prematurely wintery Melbourne. But that's where I was and as usual on trips back to my home city when I've been away for a while it was frantically busy. So much to do while I was in town, so many people to try and see, whilst trying also to complete the work which was the actual reason for my visit (yes, auditioning for some new hand maidens).

It seems to have a strange effect on people when you live away and return home for a visit. I saw it secondhand when Geoff was living in Hong Kong. I often felt on his returns that tour buses with "Spicer" written on the destination board up the top seemed to park out the front of his mum's house in Gidgee Avenue. The loungeroom would be chock full of people who wanted to see him. I wanted to see him also, so I don't blame them at all. But there was a certain frenzy associated with it and some sort of competition. "I saw him three times and you only saw him two". One night when a group of us were out for dinner with Geoff and I happened to be his chauffeur for the evening, Geoff decided he wanted to go back afterwards to Darren's place to continue drinking with the folk who'd been at dinner. Unfortunately it seems that others were expecting him to be meeting them at the cinema for a ritualistic session of Koyaanisqatsi. They ended up driving all over town until they found us. I was actually crashed out on Darren's bed, having decided I'd had enough of the evening, when I was aggressively woken by a tirade insisting that somehow I'd kidnapped Geoff away from his rightful location which was with them. It was as if I'd been caught redhanded shagging their wives. I was somewhat flabbergasted and not a little bemused. For the person in question, it is undoubtedly heartwarming to be loved to that extent, but it can often make you feel like the rope in a tug of war. In the past, when I would be back in Melbourne, it was pretty much guaranteed that at least one of Mum, Tori and sister Nat would be angry and upset with me for not spending enough time with them. I felt like I couldn't win really, so in the end ceased to be too bothered. This time Tori wasn't there so I was safe at least from her wrath. And I stayed with Mum (which was very nice) and saw Nat for dinner on two out of the three nights, so the emotional mine field of the three closest women to me in my life was negotiated far more comfortably on this occasion. I even managed to sneak in a quick lunchtime meeting with friends in Warrandyte, a visit to Aton Street to see how Pusskana was doing (loving and snuggly at first followed by hissing in a pissed off way at my betrayal for deserting him) and a trip to the footy. Several people seemed to think that I have my life coordinated so well that my trip was totally planned around being at the MCG for the first game of the season. I guess there have been times when this was true, but on this particular occasion it was just a genuine piece of luck. Not that the game provided the equal of the occasion. A pathetic display by two so called top teams in St.Kilda and Geelong. The crowd were in far better form than any of the players and despite coming away with a loss, I had a thoroughly enjoyable time just being at the footy and standing in the outer. Following on from the footy was a gathering at Tal's to celebrate Priscilla giving birth to a new baby girl. Being back in town after an absence and seeing close friends definitely gives a good boost to the adrenaline. After many hilarious, animated and enjoyable conversations culminating finally in some drunken skateboard action on the streets of Collingwood after 4am, I wound up back at Dan and Lisa's around 5. It had been a great night giving me some things that only Melbourne can really offer up for me, the predominant one in being the place where so many people that I love reside. As for the city itself, I think I'll wait until the weather fines up a bit before I make judgement.

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